Xiaotian Li, Di Liu, and Siyan Xie
Guangzhou, China · Curating
Reading Room is an independent research and publishing project founded in 2019 by Xiaotian Li, Di Liu and Siyan Xie. Setting out from an active network of art collectives and cultural commons in Southern China and Southeast Asia, their main interests include alternative economy, social practices, family and children’s life, and gender issues. Since 2021, Reading Room has been collaborating with lumbung artist BOLOHO on the documenta fifteen project BOLOHOPE, as well as contributing to the lumbung network of artists and publishers.
Xiaotian Li is a curator, artist, writer and researcher based in Guangzhou and Yangjiang. She joined Huangbian Station Contemporary Art Research Center (HB Station) as a researcher in 2012, worked at CANTONBON and Video Bureau from 2014 to 2016, and worked as a curator at HB Station from 2016 to 2021. Recently she has been one of the curators for the following exhibitions: ‘Tsk-Tsk In The Streets’ at Times Museum in 2021, an exhibition on artistic practices and self-organisation in and around Yangjiang from the 1990s to the beginning of the millennium; ‘Empowerment’ at Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg, Germany in 2022, which offers a global overview of art and feminisms of the twenty-first century with around 100 artistic positions from fifty countries; and a series of exhibitions funded by Goethe-Institut between the collective and art space Synnika in Frankfurt and art spaces in Guangzhou. Li’s research and curatorial work is mainly motivated by care and curiosity.
Di Liu is a researcher and writer based in Hong Kong and Cambridge, UK. Since 2017, she has worked collaboratively on several projects related to social practices in Southeast Asia and Southern China with self-organisations and institutions including Asia Art Archive in Hong Kong and Huangbian Station Contemporary Art Research Center in Guangzhou. Her writings have appeared in publications such as Artforum China, The Art Newspaper China, LEAP, Spike, the IDEAS Journal of Asia Art Archive, Times Museum’s online journal, and the publication of the International Institute for Asian Studies at Leiden University. Working at the nexus of contemporary art and modern history, her research interests include collective practices, the discourses of Asia/Global South in artistic production, and the metamorphosis of transregional material culture. She is currently a PhD candidate at the Faculty of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies, University of Cambridge.
Siyan Xie is a researcher, writer, and practitioner. She is a PhD candidate in Art History at The Chinese University of Hong Kong, researching socially engaged art communities in mainland China. She is now working on the thesis project Sensing in Common: Prefigurative Practice of Socially Engaged Art in China. Since 2017, she has been involved in the art scenes of the self- organised art community in Southern China, working closely with Soeng Joeng Toi (2017-2021), a decentralized, co-governed, multifunctional open space in Guangzhou and Dinghaiqiao Mutual-Aid Society, a community-based collaborative project in a working-class neighbourhood in Shanghai. Her writings have appeared in media such as Artforum China, Initium, The Paper, and BlackTeeth. Siyan is concerned with art labour and gender issues in the Chinese context. She also employs woodcuts as a method to practice as an artivist. She has recently initiated and organised woodcut workshops with a focus on gender politics in China.